Notes: Padilla questionable for start
Rangers pitching coach Connor addresses arm shortage
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers bullpen staff has thrown more innings than any team in baseball with 216 2/3 innings. The Rangers have used nine starters this season, and they're hopeful right-hander Vicente Padilla will be ready to go on Sunday against Milwaukee.Padilla missed his last start with arm irritation in his right triceps, but threw a 53-pitch bullpen session earlier today. "It went good," pitching coach Mark Connor said. "He made it through with little discomfort in his arm." Connor is still unsure whether Padilla will be able to throw on Sunday. "We'll have to re-evaluate it on Saturday," he said. Connor said he had no idea who would start in Padilla's spot if he couldn't go on Sunday. With the starters consistently leaving games early, the Rangers recalled right-hander Scott Feldman from Triple-A Oklahoma. Feldman threw four innings, allowing two runs in two appearances with the RedHawks. "It's just another arm to use," Connor said. "So far, all the guys in the bullpen have been fine. ... Our starters have got to get us deeper in games, though." To make room for Feldman, the Rangers optioned left-hander John Rheinecker. Rheinecker lasted three-plus innings Tuesday night against Detroit. Lofton vs. lefties: Manager Ron Washington started Kenny Lofton on Thursday against Detroit southpaw Mike Maroth. Washington has shied away from starting Lofton against left-handers for most of the season. "It's hard to describe," he said. "With Maroth, he is a finesse-type pitcher. He has nothing that is overpowering. He's a guy that can pitch." Lofton is hitting .154 against left-handers this season. Against right-handers, Lofton is a .276 hitter. Kinsler learning: Second baseman Ian Kinsler spent time before Thursday's game working on turning double plays. "It's going to be a work in progress," Washington said. "He's progressing, so that shows trust. He finally trusts to do [what he learned]." Washington said Kinsler needed to be center when turning a double play. "We try to add ideas about how it's suppose to be played," Washington said. "He's weighing what he's [already learned and what we're teaching him], so he has to figure it out." Hairston at third: The Rangers started Jerry Hairston Jr. at third base on Thursday night. Washington spent some time before the game hitting ground balls to Hairston at third. It will be his first start at third since coming back from the disabled list on Tuesday. "Jerry can play anywhere," Washington said. Sheffield impresses: After two home runs on Wednesday against the Rangers, Washington is impressed with how Gary Sheffield boosted Detroit's potent lineup this season. "He just made everyone better," Washington said. "With [the Tigers offense] you just got to pick your poison. And, this season, [Sheffield] has been a lot more patient. He's just a professional hitter. He's not trying to be greedy. That's when you know you're successful." Briefly: Outfielder Frank Catalanotto played in his 1,000th game Wednesday night. ... Designated hitter Sammy Sosa has gone 12 games and 45 at-bats without a home run. ... Triple-A Oklahoma called up first baseman Tony Roth for Drew Meyer, who is on the 7-day disabled list with a foot injury. ... Class A Bakersfield right-hander Anthony Pluta is on the DL with an injured hamstring. He said it: "When I see him up there, I'm not worried about 600 [home runs]. I'm worried about him driving in runs... He's going to get it. Right now, just some of the pitching we're facing, he's not getting many opportunities." -- Washington on Sosa, who is two home runs shy of 600 Wednesday's Minor League stars:
Gold: Second baseman German Duran went 4-for-5 with his 10th double and two RBIs as Double-A Frisco lost to San Antonio, 11-9. Duran raised his average to .321. Silver: Class A Bakersfield lost to Stockton, 11-3, but outfielder John Mayberry, Jr. hit his 15th double of the season. He leads the California League with 15 home runs. Bronze: Outfielder Steve Murphy went 3-for-5 with a double, his 12th of the year, and scored a run for Frisco. Up next: The Rangers host an Interleague series against the National League Central leading Milwaukee Brewers beginning Friday night at 7:35 p.m. CT at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Right-hander Robinson Tejeda pitches for the Rangers against left-hander Chris Capuano of the Brewers.
Drew Davison is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.